By Mary Schmid
The busy bee is working hard. But, sometimes, hard work can impede your results. People tell us to work smart, but how do we do that? It depends on how you are working. Brain research has keys for how to work with maximum efficiency by knowing your brain and mental energy.
Busy Bee Tip 1: The part of the brain that makes decisions, the pre-frontal cortex, takes up a lot of resources for your best quality thinking. When you are tired or hungry and just cannot seem to think, the answer is not to try harder. Instead, start your day with prioritizing your priorities. You have a fresh mind and lots of glucose to maximize your ability to prioritize. Start with the tasks that are complex and take energy and effort to complete.
Busy Bee Tip 2: Use visuals to tackle complex problems. Instead of storing too much information in your brain, put these ideas into pictures. You can see the concepts and the big picture rather than struggling with trying to store too much detail. Putting ideas into words takes more mental energy than visualizing it on paper. When you interact with projects, the brain more easily can see how the pieces fit together. This takes up less brain space and helps to prioritize the action steps.
Busy Bee Tip 3: Be aware of your own mental energies and plan accordingly. You cannot make decisions all day long. Instead, break your work into blocks of time based on the type of activity rather than topics. Shift around the kind of work you need to do to let your brain recover. If you tackled a project requiring complex thinking, take a break. Nourish yourself and get physical exercise. Mix up intense thinking with routine work.
By tackling the most energy consuming activity of prioritization first thing in your day, using visuals to break down complex projects, and shifting around the type of work you do, you will have clearer thinking and maximize your brain resources. It’s a great way to start the day!